Today the Church recalls the grievous sorrows of the Mother of God. The prophecy of Simeon reached its fulfillment as Our Lady stood
in the shadow beneath the Cross of her Crucified Son: "And you yourself a sword shall pierce" Lk 2: 35.
Perhaps because St. Francis so loved the Crucified Christ, he could not but help have a deep and tender love for the Sorrowful Mother. He identified her as the companion of Christs' sufferings, the co-redemptrix who endured in her heart all the anguish that Christ experienced in His agony.
The famous hymn, often sung during Lent, Stabat Mater Dolorosa (At the Cross Her Station Keeping), is attributed by many to the 13th century friar, Jacoponi da Todi.
In the early 20th century, a Franciscan Tertiary named Berthe Petit, reported several apparitions of Christ in connection with this devotion.
"The Heart of My Mother has the right to be called Sorrowful and I wish this title placed before that of Immaculate because she has won it herself.... This right which My Mother has to a title of justice, is now, according to My express wish, to be known and universally accepted. She has earned it by her identification with My sorrows; by her sufferings; by her sacrifices and her immolation in Calvary endured in perfect correspondence with My grace for the salvation of mankind . . . " [Sept. 8, 1911]
"It is hearts that must be changed. This will be accomplished only by the Devotion proclaimed, explained, preached and recommended everywhere. Recourse to My Mother under this title I wish for her universally, is the last help I shall give before the end of time." [July 2, 1940] *
The Constitutions of the Capuchin Friars Minor further invoke a devotion to the Sorrows of Mary: "For she is our mother and advocate, the patroness of our Order, the companion of her Son's poverty and suffering, and, as experience witnesses, the way to arrive at the spirit of the poor and crucified Christ" (Capuchin Constitutions #54 The Brothers' Life of Prayer).
On this special feast in honor of Our Lady of Sorrows, let us pray the prayer of St. Francis:
Hail, holy Lady, most holy Queen,
Mary, Mother of God, ever Virgin.
You were chosen by the Most High Father in heaven,
consecrated by Him, with His most Holy Beloved Son
and the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
On you descended and still remains all the fullness of grace and every good.
Hail, His Palace.
Hail His Tabernacle.
Hail His Robe.
Hail His Handmaid.
Hail, His Mother.
And Hail, all holy Virtues, who, by grace and inspiration of the Holy Spirit,
are poured into the hearts of the faithful
so that from their faithless state,
they may be made faithful servants of God through you. AMEN.
* - The Church has not yet ruled on the authenticity of these apparitions.